In a ruling that might send cold shivers in NVIDIA’s way, the International Trade Commission reported its findings over the lawsuit involving NVIDIA and Rambus over Patent infringement and the hammer appeared not to favor NVIDIA.
NVIDIA Found in Violation
In its ruling, the commission established that NVIDIA was in violation of Rambus’ three patents. To top it up, the commission gave the injunction Rambus had sought to stop NVIDIA and the myriad of other companies in the case such as Asus, HP, Palit and MSI etc from the sale of products with the intellectual patent found to have been infringed upon by the companies being sued. This ruling reminds me of the previous ruling the Trade Commission made in January that basically found NVIDIA of having infringed three Rambus patents but dismissed two other claims Rambus had launched as well. Therefore, the latest ruling is nothing but an affirmation of the fact that NVIDIA had already been found to be in violation of intellectual property rights.
The injunction however is more of a theoretical than a mitigative step as there still is a 60 day period before it can be effected and as such, NVIDIA has already indicated that it is considering a range of available options. According to NVIDIA’s spokesperson, the ruling is expected to have no major effect on the company’s customers nor its business as the company plans to make use of the obligatory European Commission License that it has. In that regard, NVIDIA hopes that move will enable it push ahead with its business with regard to the conditions of the European Commission License that basically curtails the enforcement of the injunction sought by Rambus. However, this is kind of interesting because the other companies involved in the saga seem to be reading from a totally different script.
Different tales and Situations
Companies such HP, Asus and the other in the suite are required to provide a 2.65% bond on each product they sell during the 60 day window period they were granted as the review process continues. Even so, the two main contenders in the patents suite are rather spinning different tales altogether. Whereas Rambus chief executive expressed his excitement with the Trade Commission’s ruling, stating that it was representative of Rambus’ dedication to innovation, NVIDIA on the other hand boasted that the additional licensing fees from Rambus may account for no more than 1% of their gross margin. If like me you are wondering why NVIDIA did not then just buy the patent rights altogether at once, it is s hard question.
If you have your history over Rambus and its patent suites, you will remember that the company has had some of the most patent suites, aggressively going after companies that violate its patent rights and if history is anything to follow, Rambus has shown us that it is an innovative firm whose creations are at the core of technologies in DDR-RAM and memory controllers. Even though the Trade Commission’s decision may not cost NVIDIA in any material way, it remains to be seen how the whole issue will pun out.